Brazil 4-1 Cameroon
Luiz Felipe Scolari could have been forgiven if he chose to hide this week, given the hosts’ first two performances of the World Cup were below the ever-demanding Selecao fans’ expectations.
A vibrant first-half performance resulted in two-goals from Neymar which gave Brazil a slender advantage at the interval. His first was nonchalantly placed first-time shot, as he let the ball run across his body before side-footing past dumbfounded Cameroon goalkeeper Charles Itandje.
Joel Matip equalised for Cameroon but Neymar restored the Selecao’s lead soon after.
Fred opened his account for the tournament, with a header which was harder to miss than score for 3-1.
Fernandinho completed the rout with a toe poke finish following a slick passing move around the Africans’ penalty area.
The hosts are now starting to pick up momentum.
Croatia 1-3 Mexico
Tactically astute Mexico coach Miguel Herrera treated fans to more numerous animations on the touchline as the El Tricolor brushed past Croatia 3-1.
A goalless first half contest exploded into life towards the end of the match as Mexico’s captain Rafael Marquez headed in a corner.
Three minutes later, as Croatia chased the game, a swift Mexican counter-attack tore them apart as Andres Guardado added a second.
Javier Hernandez sealed the match with the third which left the Mexicans close to leapfrogging Brazil as group winners. Ivan Perisic’s late consolation goal extinguished those hopes and there was even time for Ante Rebic to receive a straight red card for an unnecessary high boot on Carlos Pena.
SECOND ROUND FIXTURES—Brazil play on Saturday 28th June and Mexico play on Sunday.